Storm’s Hughes expects Souths lift in Anzac Day clash

Melissa Woods |

Melbourne believe South Sydney’s fortunes are looking up ahead of their Anzac Day clash.
Melbourne believe South Sydney’s fortunes are looking up ahead of their Anzac Day clash.

Jahrome Hughes is expecting South Sydney to deliver their best performance of the season against Melbourne on Anzac Day, dismissing their lowly NRL ladder position.

The Storm halfback said there were signs before the Rabbitohs’ bye round that they were finding some form and his team needed to be on guard in their Thursday night clash at AAMI Park.

While they had a gallant loss to ladder leaders Cronulla in their last outing, Souths have only banked one win from six games to sit second bottom while Melbourne have only lost once to be second top.

Jahrome Hughes
Jahrome Hughes is wary of the lowly-placed Rabbitohs. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Since 2009 the Storm have hosted the Warriors 13 times in an annual Anzac Day fixture but the Aucklanders wanted to host their own game, and will take on Gold Coast.

Hughes said not facing a trans-Tasman rival didn’t take away from the match, which is usually a sell-out, and expected Souths to rise to the occasion, particularly with coach Jason Demetriou trying to save his job 

“We’re going to have a tough game, they’re a good footy side although they haven’t started the way they wanted to this year,” the 29-year-old said on Monday.

“They’re not far off but I think the game before their bye they played really well.

“They didn’t get the win but their best footy is coming and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s going to be up against us.

“It’s a big day, Anzac Day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up bringing their best game this year … they’ve got nothing to lose so we’re really cautious of what they can do.”

After another come-from-behind win last round to beat the Sydney Roosters 18-12 a statistic emerged that if Storm games this season had all ended at the 70-minute mark they would sit 15th on the ladder instead of second.

The Kiwi international saw their ability to conjure a win at the death as an improvement on last season.

“I feel like that was our problem last year, not playing for the full 80 and this year we’ve been able to come back late in games and get the win,” he said.

The team have looked more dangerous since Cameron Munster re-joined Hughes in the halves, although the No.6 is still carrying a troubling groin issue.

Cameron Munster has boosted Melbourne since his return from injury. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“He’s still rehabbing the groin and just talking to him he’s not 100 per cent but he goes out and gives 100 per cent no matter how he’s feeling,” Hughes said.

“I feel like he’s slowly getting back to his best.”

Meanwhile, Hughes denied a report that he wanted out of Melbourne and was looking to return home to Queensland’s Gold Coast.

“It’s just rumours, I haven’t seen the story but I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.

“Obviously I was up there before … but this (Melbourne) feels like home.

“My mum and my sisters live down here as well which makes it a bit more homely and obviously my wife is from Queensland but she’s loving it at the moment as well so this is home for us.”